“For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” – 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10
by Aaron Rodgers
I often ask people what they enjoy in life or in their walk with Christ. No one has ever said, “I love waiting!” No one. Maybe because no one likes waiting.
Let me confess, I am the worst at waiting. I will actually craft things into my life to not have to wait. I don’t like wasting time! So, waiting for anything is not high on my list of enjoyable experiences. But nonetheless, I find myself waiting all the time. Waiting for the light to turn green. Waiting for my kids to obey. Waiting for God to show me what to do. What about you?
I can assume you probably don’t love waiting. But that doesn’t change the reality that you are waiting. What are you waiting for? Are you hungry, waiting for your next meal? To study or finally work on that paper or project you need to finish? Waiting to finally decide on a major in college? What about a relationship? Are you waiting for a boyfriend? Girlfriend? Spouse? Or even a genuine friend? Are you waiting for God to answer your prayers? To stop giving into that one sin? For spiritual maturity? Are you waiting for Jesus to finally come back? Are you waiting for direction in life?
When Jesus began His ministry, He waited three years before He was led to the cross. I can’t imagine knowing what was coming, and each day taking one step closer to death. In Luke 22:39-46, we see Jesus’ final moments of waiting to bear the weight of humanity’s sin on the cross. In this passage, He urged His followers to pray for Him not to fall into temptation. He knew what was coming – and He had to wait. It caused so much stress that Luke writes that Jesus’ sweat “became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Jesus waited. And it was hard for Him.
You and I are not waiting to bear the cross and the sin of the world. But we are often caught waiting for something. God is more deeply connected to our waiting than we may have ever acknowledged. Whether we are waiting on Him or something else, it all flows back to Him. How can we be sure of this? Because God does not cast His divine wisdom for our life aside when we’re caught waiting. Did God set His divine wisdom aside when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, waiting to die? No! Jesus was fully man and endured all the temptations that you and I have to walk through (Hebrews 4:15). He could have run away from the garden that night, but instead, he waited for one of His own disciples to come and betray Him.
In this Easter season, we reflect on Jesus, the cross, and the resurrection. As we reflect, know that every time we wait, it is an opportunity for God to make us more like Jesus. God knows exactly how to work on you to become more like Christ. That might mean waiting at lunch for your food to come, or to get news from the doctor, or to finally have an answer to prayer. Be encouraged by Philippians 4:4-7, where Paul writes, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness (other translations – ‘graciousness’ or ‘patience’) be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Rejoice always. Let your graciousness and patience be known to everyone. Give all your requests to God. He can handle it! In doing so, God will give you peace to walk through any situation. Jesus has already walked through them all, and He can’t wait to help you.
FAMILY LENT ACTIVITY
Spend time as a family focused on Jesus and the cross. Do all of these activities at one time or mix and match throughout the week.
• Do something for someone you know who is in a season of waiting to encourage them (write a note, draw a picture, make a treat, etc.). Pray that Jesus’s love is clear to them and they find peace in Him.
• Read Romans 5:3-5. Waiting and suffering are sometimes closely related. Make a list and talk about the things that can come from suffering.
• Discuss: Think about a time when you had to wait for something. What good can come from waiting?
• Worship as a family by singing Attitude of Gratitude.
• Pray as a family.
Take time to be still before God and pray, using these starter prayers to guide your time.
• Thank you for being patient with me during all the times I have been slow to obey.
• I need to be refreshed in the Gospel every day. I choose to trust you and your plan for my life, even when I don’t fully understand. I confess my lack of faith and ask you to give me strength.
• Reveal to me wisdom and truth in the area I am waiting. Help me to show grace to everyone in my life and live in a way that brings you glory.
Salt Network Church Planting Candidate
Aaron is a Church Planting Candidate with The Salt Network. He and his family moved to Iowa in July 2016 and he is currently serving on staff in The Salt Company. Aaron will be the lead pastor at the Lawrence, Kansas/University of Kansas church plant in Fall 2018. He is married to Kristen and has two children, Korben and Klaire.